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Southernhighlander

Outdoor wood fired stills for wineries etc?

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I am considering selling a line of outdoor wood fired stills.  These stills could not be used indoors, but could be used in sheds that are open on at least 1 side.  These stills would consist of a copper still pot sitting down into a steel firebox set up to burn wood with damper controls etc.  They would have a flue pipe coming up from the back of the firebox.  They would have optional agitators and would be great for brandies as well as whiskeys and even rum.    I think that these stills would be perfect for wineries and other distilleries that are out in the country and on farms.  With an outside shed you would not need sprinklers systems and many other things that cost a great deal of money.  Of course outdoor sheds would limit the operations to certain times a year in some areas, however if you have vineyards or fruit trees or berries or if you are a maple syrup farm these stills would be perfect for those spirits that are made seasonally that you can sell all year.  

I am interested in feedback.  Does anyone think that these wood fired stills for use outdoors in sheds would sell?  I'm not sure if they will sell or not.  No one else in the US is selling wood fired stills that I know of.

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My personal opinion is that distilling outdoors is a constant battle for quality control - so-called "parasitic reflux" can be a huge issue, even with pots, making a complete headache of cuts. 

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12 minutes ago, MDH said:

My personal opinion is that distilling outdoors is a constant battle for quality control - so-called "parasitic reflux" can be a huge issue, even with pots, making a complete headache of cuts. 

It depends on what you are producing and what you are producing it in and of course the weather, but some great spirits have been produced that way.   I wouldn't run a packed column or plated still outdoors or anything with a dephlegmator.  I have had some wonderful Brandies and Whiskies that were distilled up a holler, in a 3 sided shed, in an old copper pot still with a slobber box and thumper.  One of the stills at my distillery will be a traditional copper still in a 3 sided shed, however it will be rocked up, with a stone firebox like the stills that my people ran for generations.

I do appreciate your feedback.  Thank you.  So that is one nay already. 

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would be interesting to see pics of what your thinking paul . in this area they would never allow a person to run a still outside of the building . however if it was set against a wall with the fire box accessed from the outside of the building and no  chance of open flame inside the building you may have something . i have seen hydronic stoves that are in building and accessed from the outside , they worked good , all mess and fire outside and any waste heat is used in the building . i beleive there is a German made still that burns wood , however i dont know how they get around the risk of the stove sucking in a potential vapour leek . interesting stuff . 

tim 

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26 minutes ago, Hudson bay distillers said:

would be interesting to see pics of what your thinking paul . in this area they would never allow a person to run a still outside of the building . however if it was set against a wall with the fire box accessed from the outside of the building and no  chance of open flame inside the building you may have something . i have seen hydronic stoves that are in building and accessed from the outside , they worked good , all mess and fire outside and any waste heat is used in the building . i beleive there is a German made still that burns wood , however i dont know how they get around the risk of the stove sucking in a potential vapour leek . interesting stuff . 

tim 

Tim,  I don't have any pics or drawings yet,  I'm just thinking about it.  My brain says it's a bad idea but my gut feeling goes the other way.  All of my vacuum stills can be fired by outdoor hydronic wood fired boilers as well as anything else that can produce hot water such as electric or natural gas commercial hot water heaters etc.

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Montanya Distillers in Colorado has a copper alembic in a gas firebox you may want to look at. I tracked down the fabricator a while back. Could be converted for wood since the firebox is basically a stove. I like your idea and might be interested. I can send pics and the little info i have if you want.

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Brandy Peak Distillery in Brookings OR had outdoor wood fired stills which operated from like 1994 until they closed last year. The owners father designed stills for Gallo and had his own company L&A Engineering construct their two wood fired stills. I never saw them in person so I couldn't tell you about them

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13 hours ago, Trevor said:

Montanya Distillers in Colorado has a copper alembic in a gas firebox you may want to look at. I tracked down the fabricator a while back. Could be converted for wood since the firebox is basically a stove. I like your idea and might be interested. I can send pics and the little info i have if you want.

Trevor,

 

I would love to see the pics and info.

 

Thanks.

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12 hours ago, JustAndy said:

Brandy Peak Distillery in Brookings OR had outdoor wood fired stills which operated from like 1994 until they closed last year. The owners father designed stills for Gallo and had his own company L&A Engineering construct their two wood fired stills. I never saw them in person so I couldn't tell you about them

That's really interesting.  Around 7 or 8 years ago i saw a picture of a winery that had wood fired stills in an open shed built onto the side of a building.   They had just won a major award for their brandy.  I never committed the name of the place to memory but it seems like it was in OR.

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The base was designed for Montanya Distillers by a company called  Resource Engineering Group or REG. There another distillery called Bluewater in Washington that uses the design too.

 

Dodson Harper, P.E., S.E.

Principal
Resource Engineering Group, Inc.
Mail: Box 3725
Delivery: 502 Whiterock Ave., Suite 102
Crested Butte, CO 81224 USA
Office: 970-349-1216
Cell: 970-209-3938

411939-bhkvwghafmttlefzrcmaxhpyqares4kog1vskp8-7dy.jpg

636573329883122204-Montanya-Distillers-1.jpg

KarenHoskin.jpg

montanya-distillers.jpg

Montanya-Distillers-Tours-02.jpg

DSC04341.jpg

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The designer sells the design to fabricators. If you start fabbing these or something similar please send me a message. I'm been trying to convince my cousin who is a welder to try making me a few.

 

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I'm thinking of a design more like the pic below.  It is a european built 100 liter that tilts to dump the mash.  I would have a drain valve  instead of the tilt option and an electric agitator instead of the hand crank one, but I like the firebox design and the way the copper boiler sets down inside.  Farmers and wineries all over eastern europe have these in sheds and they mainly produce Brandies with them.  I had a Serb bring me some apricot brandy that he made in his and it was really good.   I have contacted the company that builds them and I may just order a container load of 100liter to 500liter stills and see how they sell.

Model-Tilter-100L---With-mixer889-1500-994.jpeg

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Slick!   I've never seen something like this .Very inventive.

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This is the 7/29 postcast of Distillery Nation about Karen Hoskin of Montanya Distillers. She is the woman in Trevor's post. They discuss direct heat pot stills. The short of it is that the higher heat of the direct still contributes to caramelization of the wash.*

https://www.mastrogiannisdistillery.com/podcast/Montanya/index.html

 

*While I believe the flavor changes I'm not sure it's caramelization. It requires sugar and a well fermented mash shouldn't contain much if any remaining fermentable sugar. Ditto for Maillard reactions. (https://www.morebeer.com/articles/fruit_in_beer)

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